Like all ancient peoples, the early Hebrews believed that the dead go down into the underworld and live there a colorless existence (comp. Isa. xiv. 15-19; Ezek. xxxii. 21-30). Only an occasional person, and he an especially fortunate one, like Enoch or Elijah, could escape from Sheol, and these were taken to heaven to the abode of
A different view, which made a resurrection unnecessary, was held by the authors of Ps. xlix. and lxxiii., who believed that at death only the wicked went to Sheol and that the souls of the righteous went directly to God. This, too, seem based on views analogous to those of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and probably was not widely held. In the long run the old national point of view asserted itself in the form of Messianic hopes. These gave rise to a belief in a resurrection in order that more might share in the glory of the Messianic kingdom. This hope first finds expression in Isa. xxvi. 19, a passage which Cheyne dates about 334
In the earliest part of the Ethiopic Book of Enoch (i.-xxxvi.) there is a great advance on the conceptions of Daniel, although the book is of earlier date. Ch. xxii. contains an elaborate description of Sheol, telling how it is divided into four parts, two of which receive two classes of righteous; the others, two classes of wicked. Of these, three classes are to experience a resurrection. One class of the wicked has been judged and has received its punishment. In H Maccabees the belief that all Israelites will be resurrected finds expression (comp. vi. 26, vii. 9-36, and xiv. 46). In the next Enoch apocalypse (Ethiopic Enoch, lxxxiii.-xc.), composed a few years after Daniel, it was thought that only the righteous Israelites would experience a resurrection. That was to be a bodily resurrection, and the body was to be subsequently transformed. This writer realized that the earth was not a fit place for
Against these views some of the later psalmists uttered a protest, declaring that a resurrection was impossible (comp. Ps. lxxxviii. 10, cxv. 17). In spite of this protest, however, the idea persisted. The next Enoch apocalypse (Ethiopic Enoch, xci.-civ.) looked for a resurrection of the righteous, but as spirits only, without a body (comp. ciii. 3, 4). A later Enoch apocalypse (Ethiopic Enoch, xxxvii.-lxx.) expresses the conviction that both the righteous and the wicked will be raised (comp. li 1, 2; lxii. 15, 16), and that the spirits of the righteous will be clothed in a body of glory and light.
The author of the Slavonic Book of Enoch (Book of the Secrets of Enoch, xxii. 8-10) believed in a resurrection of spirits, without a body. He nevertheless believed in a spiritual body, for he describes the righteous as clothed in the glory of God. The authors of the Book of Jubilees and the Assumptio Mosis believed in a resurrection of the spirit only, without a body (comp. Jubilees, xxiii. 31 et al., and Assumptio Mosis, x. 9).
All these believed that the soul would sleep in Sheol till the judgment, but several Alexandrian writers about the beginning of the common era held, like Ps. xlix. and lxxiii., that the spirits of the righteous entered on a blessed immortality immediately at death. This was the view of the author of the Wisdom of Solomon (iii. 1-4; iv. 7, 10, et al.), of Philo, and of IV Maccabees. Finally, the scope of the resurrection, which in previous writers had been limited to Israel, was extended in the Apocalypse of Baruch and in II Esdras to include all mankind (comp. Baruch, xlix.-li. 4; II Esd. vii. 32-37).
- Charles, A Critical History of the Doctrine of a Future Life in Israel, in Judaism, and in Christianity, London, 1899.
Resurrection is asserted in all the Apocryphal writings of Pharisaic origin (comp. II Macc. vii. 9-36,xii. 43-44), where arguments against Sadducean Israel are prescented (Book of Jubilees, xxiii. 30; Test. Patr., Judah, 25; Zebulun, 10; Benjamin, 10; Vita Adæ et Evæ, xiii.; Sibyllines, ii. 85; Enoch, li. 1-2; Apoc. Baruch, xxx. 1-5, l.-li.: II Esd. vii. 32; Psalms of Solomon, iii. 16, xiv. 13), and in the Hellenistic writings (see Wisdom iii. 1-9, iv. 7, v. 16, vi. 20; IV Macc. ix. 8; xiii. 16; xv. 2; xvii. 5, 18; xviii. 23). Immortality of the soul takes the place of bodily resurrection. Rabbinical arguments in favor of resurrection are given in Sanh. 90b-92b, from promises made to the dead (Ex. iv. 4; Deut. xi. 9 [comp. Mark xii. 18]; Num. xviii. 28; Deut. iv. 4, xxxi. 16, xxxii. 39), and from similar expressions in which the future tense is applied to the future life (Ex. xv. 1; Deut. xxxiii. 6; Josh. viii. 30; Ps. lxxxiv. 5 [A. V. 4]; Isa. lii. 8); also in Ḥul. 142a, from promised rewards (Deut. v. 16, xxii. 17), which so frequently are not fulfilled during this life (Ber. 16b; Gen. R. xx. 26). Arguments are drawn from the grain of wheat (Sanh. 90b; comp. I. Cor. xv. 35-38), from historical parallels—the miracles of revival wrought by Elijah, Elisha, and Ezekiel (Lev. R. xxvii. 4)—and from a necessary conception of divine justice, body and soul not being in a position to be held to account for their doings in life unless, like the blind and the lame man in the parable, they are again brought together as they were before (Sifre, Deut. 106; Sanh. 91a; with reference to Ps. l. 4).
The Sadducees denied the resurrection (Josephus, "Ant." xviii. 1, § 4; idem, "B. J." ii. 8, § 14; Acts xxiii. 8; Sanh. 90b; Ab. R. N. v.). All the more emphatically did the Pharisees enunciate in the liturgy (Shemoneh 'Esreh, 2d benediction; Ber. v. 2) their belief in resurrection as one of their fundamental convictions (Sanh. x. 1; comp. Abot iv. 22; Soṭah ix. 15).
Both the Pharisees and the Essenes believed in the resurrection of the body, Josephus' philosophical construction of their belief to suit the taste of his Roman readers notwithstanding (see "B. J." ii. 8, § 11; "Ant." xviii. 1, § 5; compare these with the genuine source of Josephus, in Hippolytus' "Refutatio Hæresium," ed. Duncker Schneidewin, ix. 27, 29, where the original ἀνάστασις [= "resurrection"] casts a strange light upon Josephus' mode of handling texts). According to the Rabbis, Job and Esau denied resurrection (B. B. 16a, b). Whosoever denies resurrection will have no share in it (Sanh. 90b). The resurrection will be achieved by God, who alone holds the key to it (Ta'an. 2a; Sanh. 113a). At the same time the elect ones, among these first of all the Messiah and Elijah, but also the righteous in general, shall aid in raising the dead (Pirḳe R. El. xxxii.; Soṭah ix. 15; Shir ha-Shirim Zuṭa, vii.; Pes. 68a; comp. "Bundahis," xxx. 17).Universal or National.
By means of the "dew of resurrection" (see Dew) the dead will be aroused from their sleep (Yer. Ber. v. 9b; Ta'an. i. 63d, with reference to Isa. xxvi. 19; Ḥag. 12b. with reference to Ps. lxviii. 10 [A. V. 9]). As to the question, Who will be raised from death? the answers given vary greatly in rabbinical literature. According to R. Simai (Sifre, Deut. 306) and R. Ḥiyya bar Abba (Gen. R. xiii. 4; comp. Lev. R. xiii. 3), resurrection awaits only the Israelites; according to R. Abbahu, only the just (Ta'an. 7a); some mention especially the martyrs (Yalḳ. ii. 431, after Tanḥuma). R. Abbahu and R. Eleazar confine resurrection to those that die in the Holy Land; others extend it to such as die outside of Palestine (Ket. 111a). According to R. Jonathan (Pirḳe R. El. xxxiv.), the resurrection will be universal, but after judgment the wicked will die a second death and forever, whereas the just will be granted life everlasting (comp. Yalḳ. ii. 428, 499). The same difference of view prevails also among the New Testament writers; at times only "the resurrection of the just" is spoken of (Luke xiv. 14, xx. 35); at other times "the resurrection of the dead" in general is mentioned (John v. 29; Acts xxiv. 15; Rev. xx. 45).Part of the Messianic Hope.
As a matter of fact, resurrection formed part of the Messianic hope (Isa. xxiv. 19; Dan. xii. 2; Enoch, xxv. 5, li. 1, xc. 33; Jubilees, xxiii. 30). Especially were those that died as martyrs in the cause of the Law expected to share in the future glory of Israel (II Macc. vii. 6, 9, 23; Yalḳ. to Isa. xxvi. 19; Midr. Teh. xvii. 14; Sibyllines, ii. 85). The very term used to express the idea of sharing in the future life is "to inherit the land" (Ḳid. i. 10; Matt. v. 5, after Ps. xxxvii. 11; Sanh. xi. 1, with reference to Isa. lx. 21). The resurrection, therefore, was believed to take place solely in the Holy Land (Pesiḳ. R. i., after Ps. cxvi. 9 ["the land of the living," that is, "the land where the dead live again"]; or Gen. R. lxxiv.: Yer. Ket. xii. 35b, with reference to Isa. xlii. 5 ["He giveth breath to the people upon it," that is, upon the Holy Land only]). Jerusalem alone is the city of which the dead shall blossom forth like grass (Ket. 111b, after Ps. lxxii. 16). Those that are buried elsewhere will therefore be compelled to creep through cavities in the earth until they reach the Holy Land (Pesiḳ. R. l.c., with reference to Ezek. xxxvii. 13; Ket. 111a).Day of Judgment Precedes Messianic Era.
The trumpet blown to gather the tribes of Israel (Isa. xxvii. 13) will also rouse the dead (Ber. 15b; Targ. Yer. to Ex. xx. 15; II Esd. iv. 23; comp. I Cor. xv. 52; I Thess. iv. 16; see Enoch, x. 12 et seq., xxv. 4 et seq., xlv. 2, xc. 25, xci. 11, xcviii. 12; Test. Patr., Simeon, 61; Judah, 25; Zebulun, 10; Benjamin, 10). The nations, together with their guardian angels and stars, shall be cast into Gehenna (Enoch, xc. 24-25). According to R. Eleazar of Modi'im, to the angelic princes of the seventy-two nations who will protest because, though it has sinned like the rest, God favors Israel, God will answer, "Let each nation go through the fire together with its guardian deity "; then all the nations will be consumed in common with their deities, who can not shield them, but Israel will be saved by its God (Cant. R. ii. 1; comp. Tan., Shofeṭim, ed. Buber, end, after Isa. lxvi. 14, Ps. xxiii. 4, and Micah iv. 5). Another view is that the glare of the sun will test the heathen's loyalty to the Law they promised to observe, and they will be cast into the eternal fire ('Ab. Zarah).
The conception of God entering Hades to save Israel from Gehenna gave rise to the Christian conception of the Messiah descending into Hades to reclaim his own among those who are imprisoned there (Test. Patr., Benjamin; Sibyllines, i. 377, viii. 310; Yalḳ. ii. 359; Jellinek, "B. H." ii. 50 [comp. I Peter iii. 19]; Ascensio Isaiæ, iv. 21, with reference to Isa. ix. 16, lii.-liii.; see Epstein, "Bereshit Rabbati," 1888, p. 31). The sole end of the judgment of the heathen is, according to R. Eleazar of Modi'im (Mek., Beshallaḥ, 'Amaleḳ), the establishment of the kingdom of God. "When the Messiah appears on the roof of the Temple announcing Israel's redemption, the light emanating from him shall cause the nations to fall prostrate before him; and Satan himself will shudder, for the Messiah will cast him into Gehenna, and death and sorrow shall flee forever" (Pesiḳ. R. 36; Sibyllines, ii. 167, iii. 46-72).Resurrection Universal.
As in the course of time the national hope with its national resurrection and final day of judgment no longer satisfied the intellect and human sentiment, the resurrection assumed a more universal and cosmic character. It was declared to be solely the act of God, who alone possesses the key that will unlock the tombs (Ber. 15b). "As all men are born and die, so will they rise again," says Eleazar ha-Ḳappar (Abot iv. 22). It was believed that resurrection would occur at the close of the Messianic era (Enoch, xcviii. 10, ciii. 8, civ. 5). This is particularly emphasized in II Esd. vii. 26-36: "Death will befall the Messiah, after his 400 years' reign, and all mankind and the world will lapse into primeval silence for seven days, after which the renewed earth will give forth its dead, and God will judge the world and assign the evil-doers to the fire of hell and the righteous to paradise, which is on the opposite side." Also, according to Syriac Apoc. Baruch (xxx. 1-5; l.-lii.; cxxxv. 15), the resurrection will take place after the Messiah has "returned to heaven" and will include all men, the righteous to meet their reward, and the wicked to meet their eternal doom. This lasting doom is called "second death" (Targ. Deut. xxxiii. 6; Targ. Isa. xiv. 19; xxii. 14; lxv. 6, 15, 19; Jer. li. 39; Rev. xx. 6, 14).Not the Heathen, but the Wicked Perish.
Nor is the wrath of the last judgment believed any longer to be brought upon the heathen solely as such. All evil-doers who have blasphemed God and His Law, or acted unrighteously, will meet with their punishment (Tos. Sanh. xiii.; Midr. Teh. vi. 1, ix. 15). It became a matter of dispute between the older school, represented by the Shammaite R. Eliezer, and the Hillelites, represented by R. Joshua, whether or not the righteous among the heathen have a share in the future world, the former interpreting the verse, "The wicked shall return to Sheol, even all the Gentiles that forget God" (Ps. ix. 18 [R. V. 17]), as condemning as wicked among the Jews and the Gentiles such as have forgotten God; the latter interpreting the verse as consigning to Sheol only such Gentiles as have actually forgotten God (Tos. Sanh. xiii. 2). The doctrine "All Israelites have a share in the world to come" (Sanh. xi. 1), based upon Isa. lx. 21 (Hebr.), "Thy people all of them righteous shall inherit the land," is therefore identical with the Pharisaic teaching as stated by Josephus ("Ant." xviii. 1, § 3; "B. J." ii. 8, § 14), that the righteous will rise to share in the eternal bliss. It is as deniers of the fundamentals of religion that heathen, Samaritans, and heretics are excluded from future salvation (Tos. Sanh. xiii.; Pirḳe R. El. xxxviii.; Midr. Teh. xi. 5). Regarding the plurality of opinions in favor of the salvation of righteous non-Jews, and the opinions of those who adhere to the national view, see Zunz, "Z. G." pp. 371-389. Related to the older, exclusive view also is the idea that the Abrahamic covenant releases the Israelites from the fire of Gehenna (Gen. R. xlviii.; Midr. Teh. vii. 1; 'Er. 19a).
At first, it seems, resurrection was regarded as a miraculous boon granted only to the righteous (see Test. Patr., Simeon, 6; Levi, 18; Judah, 25; Zebulun, 10; Vita Adæ et Evæ, 13; comp. Luke xiv. 14, xx. 36). Afterward it came to be regarded as an act of God connected with the last judgment, and therefore universal resurrection of the dead became a doctrine, as expressed in the second benediction of the Shemoneh 'Esreh (; Sifre, Deut. 329; Sanh. 92b).
In Syriac Apoc. Baruch, xlix.-li. a description is given of the manner in which the righteous at the resurrection are transformed into angels shining like the stars, who behold the beauty of the heavenly "ḥayyot" beneath God's throne, whereas the wicked assume the horrible aspect of the pit of torture below. Whether or not the body at the resurrection undergoes the same process of growth as in the womb at the time of birth is a matter of dispute between the Hillelites and the Shammaites (Gen. R. xiv.; Lev. R. xiv.).
In regard to the state of the soul separated from the body by death, whether it is supposed to dwell in heaven, or in some sort of dove-cot or a columbarium (= "guf") in Hades (Syriac Apoc. Baruch, xxx. 2; II Esd. iv. 35, 41; vii. 32, 80, 101), see Immortality of the Soul.Jewish Creed or Not?
The belief in resurrection is expressed on all occasions in the Jewish liturgy; e.g., in the morning prayer Elohai Neshamah, in the Shemoneh 'Esreh, and in the funeral services. Maimonides made it the last of his thirteen articles of belief: "I firmly believe that there will take place a revival of the dead at a time which will please the Creator, blessed be His name." Saadia also, in his "Emunot we-De'ot" (following Sanh. x. 1), declared the belief in resurrection to be fundamental. Ḥasdai Crescas, on the other hand, declared it to be a specific doctrine of Judaism, but not one of the fundamental teachings, which view is taken also by Joseph Albo in his "'Iḳḳarim" (i., iv. 35-41, xxiii.). The chief difficulty, as pointed out by the latter author, is to find out what the resurrection belief actually implied or comprised, since the ancient rabbis themselves differed as to whether resurrection was to be universal, or the privilege of the Jewish people only, or of the righteous only. This again depends on the question whether it was to form part of theMessianic redemption of Israel, or whether it was to usher in the last judgment. Saadia sees in the belief in resurrection a national hope, and endeavors to reconcile it with reason by comparing it with other miraculous events in nature and history recorded in the Bible. Maimonides and Albo in their commentary on Sanh. x. 1, Ḳimḥi in his commentary on Ps. i. 5, Isaac Aboab in his "Menorat ha-Ma'or" (iii. 4, 1), and Baḥya ben Asher in his commentary on Gen. xxiii. extend resurrection to the righteous only. On the other hand, Isaac Abravanel in his "Ma'yene Yeshu'ah" (ii. 9) concedes it to all Israel; Manasseh ben Israel, in his "Nishmat Ḥayyim" (i. 2, 8), and others, to all men. Maimonides, however (see his commentary, l.c., and "Yad," Teshubah, viii.), took the resurrection figuratively, and substituted for it immortality of the soul, as he stated at length in his "Ma'amar Teḥiyyat ha-Metim"; Judah ha-Levi also, in his "Cuzari," took resurrection figuratively (i. 115, iii. 20-21).
The belief in resurrection is beautifully expressed in the old Morning Benediction, taken from Ber. 60b: "O God, the soul which Thou hast set within me is pure. Thou hast fashioned it; Thou hast breathed it into me, and Thou dost keep it within me and wilt take it from me and restore it to me in time to come. As long as it is within me I will give homage to Thee, O divine Master, Lord of all spirits, who givest back the soul to dead bodies." This benediction, for which the simpler form is given in Yer. Ber. iv. 7d, Pesiḳ. R. 40, and Midr. Teh. xvii.: "Blessed be Thou who revivest the dead"—recited after awakening from the night's sleep—throws light upon the whole conception of resurrection. Just as the soul was believed to leave the body in sleep and return at the reawakening, so was the soul, after having left the body in death, to return to "those that sleep in the dust" at the time of the great reawakening.
In modern times the belief in resurrection has been greatly shaken by natural philosophy, and the question has been raised by the Reform rabbis and in rabbinical conferences (see Geiger, "Jüd. Zeit." vii. 246) whether the old liturgical formulas expressing the belief in resurrection should not be so changed as to give clear expression to the hope of immortality of the soul instead. This was done in all the American Reform prayer-books. At the rabbinical conference held at Philadelphia it was expressly declared that the belief in resurrection of the body has no foundation in Judaism, and that the belief in the immortality of the soul should take its place in the liturgy. See Conferences, Rabbinical; Prayer-Books; Reform Judaism.
- Hamburger, R. B. T. s.v. Auferstehung und Wiederbelebung der Todten;
- ib. s.v. Belebung der Todten;
- Schürer, Gesch. ii. 3, 547-551;
- Volz, Jüdische Eschatologie;
- Weber, Jüdische Theologie, Index.